Switzerland started the 2010 World Cup with a surprise win over Spain and they will be looking to get this summer’s tournament off to a similar start. National team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld doesn’t have any noteworthy injury problems ahead of the match versus Ecuador and has a fit squad to pick his starting XI from. His main selection headache will be who to pick alongside centre-back Steve von Bergen, with Philippe Senderos, Fabian Schar and Johan Djourou all hoping to get the nod.
Schar featured in the friendly against Peru, but Hitzelfd might turn to the more experienced Senderos on Sunday. Higher up the pitch, Napoli midfielder Bleri Dzemaili might have to settle for a spot on the bench as Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami are set to start in midfield. New Bayer Leverkusen signing Josip Drmic seems to be sitting in pole position to start as striker, ahead of Real Sociedad attacker Haris Seferovic.
Ecuador boss Reinaldo Rueda has no such luxuries as he will have to make do without midfielder Segundo Castillo due to injury, with the 32-year-old pulling out of the World Cup earlier this week. To make matters even worse, Christian Noboa is in danger of missing the match versus Switzerland as well after picking up a knock in the friendly against England, even though Rueda remains hopeful the midfielder will make it in time. Ecuador’s injury worries in midfield mean that either Edison Mendez, who scored the winner in his country’s first-ever World Cup win in 2002, or promising youngster Carlos Gruez will start against the Swiss. Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero are expected to start on the wings in Ecuador’s 4-4-2 formation, with Enner Valencia likely to partner star striker Felipe Caicedo.
This will be the first ever international meeting between Switzerland and Ecuador.
Switzerland have only conceded one goal in their last seven World Cup games combined.
Ottomar Hitzfeld's side were unbeaten in World Cup qualification, winning seven and drawing three of their 10 qualifiers.
Ecuador have never drawn a game at a World Cup, winning three and losing four so far.
Indeed, la Tri have won all three games in which they have kept a clean sheet in the competition, but lost all four they have conceded in.
Felipe Caicedo scored seven goals in nine games in qualification, including one run of scoring four in a row.
La Nati have lost their last four World Cup meetings with South American sides, failing to score in the last three.
Despite finishing fourth, Ecuador had more shots than any other team in South American qualification (201).